Friday Fish Fries in Milwaukee are a long standing tradition for many natives but do you know what started this tasty ritual? We’ll give you a hint…..it involves a tasty brew!
Here at Milwaukee Food Tours, we love sharing the unique history of the best fish fry in Milwaukee with our guests and introducing them to some of our favorite places to grab a bite! Whether it’s cod, perch or Milwaukee’s favorite smelt, you’re in for a treat!
A typical Friday night on our Milwaukee Fish Fry tour
Stop #1: Buck Bradley’s
Our first stop is home to the longest continuous bar in Wisconsin and a darn good fish fry! We love to settle in for a classic cod fish fry at Buck Bradley’s located on Old World Third Street. Buck Bradley’s fried cod is reminiscent of the first fish frys the breweries served in the 1800s. We like to remember this history by toasting those famous Milwaukee Beer Barons that made Milwaukee famous with our favorite local brews too!
The building that houses Buck Bradley’s has a strong German heritage dating back to 1854 when the building was built to house a furniture store! Throughout its lifetime the building has housed a hardware store, shoe store, a bakery and several retailers.
Heading to an event at the Fiserv Forum? Stop by Buck Bradley’s for a pre-event meal and then enjoy a short walk to the Fiserv Forum! Our Bus Rentals can provide a private shuttle to and from your event, or simply enjoy the meal on our Friday Fish Fry tour.
Buck Bradley’s has been serving it’s famous Fish Fry since 1992.
Stop #2: St. Florian’s
For many families, Friday nights meant gathering in the local church basement for a rip roaring good time with family, friends and good fish. We love to stop at St. Florian’s Church with our tour groups for some of their famous fried smelt, and a little church history! You’ll immediately feel like family when you walk through these doors!
Smelt was once a Milwaukee staple and easily caught off the shores of Lake Michigan. However, in recent years “smelting” opportunities in Lake Michigan have significantly decreased along with the number of restaurants offering Smelt.
Once the smelt are caught, they are fried up whole and served with the usual fish fry sides and accommodates. Foodies like to say that eating a fried smelt tastes like something between a traditional piece of fried fish and smoked fish.
Bonus Fact: St. Florian is the patron saint of firefighters. He must watch over St. Florian’s because the church miraculously survived three fires that should have burned the structure to the ground!
St. Florian’s, located on 45th and Greenfield in West Milwaukee, serves it’s homemade fish fry every Friday during Lent and on the first Friday of the month outside of Lent.
Husband and wife team, Aleksandra and George have been sharing the Polish family recipes with guests since 1983.
Stop #3: Polonez Restaurant
Our Milwaukee Fish Fry Tour would not be complete without some potato pancakes! Polonez is Milwaukee’s last Polish restaurant and a great place to chow down on some breaded cod and potato pancakes! Polonez’s owners, Aleksandra and George will make you feel like family while you enjoy Polish dishes straight from George’s family kitchen!
Almost every ethnic group has their own version of potato pancakes. The Polish version is often referred to as a placki. They are made with mashed potatoes as opposed to German or Jewish potato pancakes that are made with grated potatoes.
Although not included in the price on this particular tour, Polonez also offers a wide variety of Polish beers and cocktails available for purchase to enjoy with your meal!
There’s always room for a little custard!
Always Leave Room for Dessert with Milwaukee Food & City Tours!
Everyone who’s joined Milwaukee Food Tours for a tour before knows how much we love our sweet treats. An evening of Milwaukee history and Fish Fry stops would not be complete without a stop at a famous Milwaukee landmark, Leon’s Custard! A scoop of creamy frozen custard is the perfect way to end any evening!
Reserve your spot today!
Are you up to eating at THREE of the best fish fries in Milwaukee, plus having custard for dessert, on this limited edition tour? Offered every Friday during Lent – or available year-round for private tours – the Milwaukee Fish Fry Tour let’s you decide for yourself who offers the best Milwaukee fish fry! Our tour visits 3 establishments during the 3-hour tour so that you can decide for yourself who offers the best Milwaukee fish fry. You’ll sample a half-sized portion of a fish fry along with sides such as potato pancakes, coleslaw and apple sauce at each stop that we visit. And as with all of our food tours, guests are encouraged to save room for dessert – in this case, a scoop of legendary Milwaukee-style custard. Reserve your seat before they sell out!